The New England Patriots announced the signings of six free agents Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total number of rookie free agents on the current roster to 2.
California Linebacker Matt Beck, Angelo State wide receiver Shockmain Davis, Kansas State center Seneca Gray, Oklahoma State cornerback Evan Howell and safety Rodney Rideau and cornerback Mike Woods, both of Oklahoma join the 19 additional rookie free agents on the Patriots roster.
Beck, 23, was a four-year starter and totaled 238 tackles, including 48 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. The 6-foot-3-inch, 238-pound linebacker set career-highs with 103 tackles in 1996 and 21 tackles for loss in 1997.
Davis, 22, led Angelo State with 38 receptions for 567 yards and eight touchdowns during the 1999 season. The 6-foot, 200-pound wide receiver and return specialist also led the team with a 15.4 punt return average, returning 18 punts for 278 yards and one touchdown.
Gray, 22, started at three different positions on the offensive line during his collegiate career. The 6-foot-2-inch, 301-pound offensive lineman started all 45 games of his career at left tackle, left guard or center.
Howell, 22, recorded 86 tackles (78 solo), four interceptions and three tackles for loss while playing in 31 games and starting 18 during his career. The 5-foot-11-inch, 183-pound defensive back posted a career-high with 54 tackles during the 1998 season.
Rideau, 22, led with four interceptions and finished second on the team with 111 tackles during the 1999 season. The 5-foot-10-inch, 193-pound cornerback set a single-game career high with 20 tackles (14 solo) vs. Notre Dame in 1999.
Woods, 23, finished second behind Rideau on the Sooner defense with three interceptions, including a 43-yard return for a touchdown. The 5-foot-9-inch, 189-pound defensive back also recorded 49 tackles, including a single-game career-high of 12 tackles vs. Texas.
With Tuesday's additions, the Patriots now have the rights to 90 players. Officially there are 80 players under contract, but the team also has rights to its 10 unsigned draft picks.
Teams can have up to 80 players under contract for the start of training camp, but there are exemptions for NFL Europe players. New England gets two roster exemptions per allocated NFL Europe player. Since the Patriots have five players in Europe, the team gets 10 extra roster spots.
Until New England signs its draft picks, it can hold rights to as many as 100 players. With each draft pick signing, that number is reduced by one.